Envoy Delivers Obama's Letter To North Korean Dictator

Envoy delivers Obama's letter to North Korean dictatorPresident Obama sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong II that was delivered by an envoy, according to media reports.

The letter was allegedly delivered when Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special envoy for North Korea, paid a visit to the country in an effort to break an impasse in dialogue. During the trip he conveyed the administration’s view that "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is [fundamental] to improving our relations."

However, the White House has refused to reveal the contents of the letter, prompting critics to accuse the administration of a lack of transparency. Fox News’ Sean Hannity even went as far as calling North Korea’s dictator the president’s "pen pal."

On taking office in January, Obama expressed a willingness to engage with the communist regime. However, since the last six-party talks—involving the U.S., UN, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea—in December 2008, North Korea’s government has pulled out of the process and tested a second nuclear device.

There is also a widespread belief that the regime is preparing to reopen the controversial uranium-enrichment facility at Yongbyon.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19521817-ADNFCR

Study: Pregnant Women's Exposure To Bacteria May Protect Child From Allergies

Study: Pregnant women's exposure to bacteria may protect child from allergiesA study published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that a pregnant woman’s exposure to microbes may protect her child from developing allergies later in life.

The study found that, when exposed to environmental bacteria, pregnant mice developed an inflammatory response that rendered their offspring resistant to allergies.

As a result, the scientists from Phillips University theorize that pregnant women who find themselves exposed to common environmental bacteria may be able to reduce their child’s need for traditional anti-allergy medication and avoid the accompanying side effects.

The researchers based their work on the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that the progressive rise of allergies over the past few decades is due to an increased tendency to keep kids too clean.

The study may also help explain why children of farming mothers are less susceptible to allergies regardless of their own exposure.

It is still unclear how the resistance is developed in the body and whether the protection applies to a wide range of allergens, including those found in food.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19499776-ADNFCR

The Dow’s Santa Claus Rally

Where’s our Santa Claus Rally?

Back in the good old 20th century we regularly had a rally in the stock market in the days leading up to Christmas. During the last decade of the century it became such a regular part of the year end, everyone expected a “Santa Claus” rally.

Every December in the 1990s, with the lonely exception of 1997, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose during the five trading days before Christmas. In fact, the Dow rose in 13 of the final 14 sessions of 1991, climbing a total of 10.7 percent. It was called “the mother of all Santa Claus rallies.”

Christmas was not so merry for investors 95 years earlier. Because of World War I, the New York Stock Exchange suspended operations in July 1914. It resumed limited trading on Dec. 12. By Dec. 24, 1914, the Dow had fallen to 53.17—its lowest reading since 1907.

Full trading did not resume until April 1915. After the nine-month closure, a new tradition was established. Henceforth, the market would never be closed for more than three days. That is why the stock market holds a half-day session on the day after Thanksgiving.

—Chip Wood

Santa Claus

One Christmas past my eldest son Richard was furious with me.

Since he was old enough to remember, his mother and I had told him about Santa Claus. It seemed like a harmless enough fib.

He loved Santa Claus. Not only was Santa a magical character of mythical proportions, but his very existence—in the eyes of a 7-year-old—meant limitless potential. If he wanted something special, all he had to do was ask Santa Claus.

Of course Santa didn’t always bring everything he wanted; but there was always the prospect that he could, or the hope that next year he would. It was the ultimate fantasy of something for nothing.

Unfortunately Richard’s fairy tale came to an end.

“There really isn’t a Santa Claus, is there Dad?”

It is one thing to perpetuate a myth and another one to outright lie.

“No son,” I said, “Santa Claus isn’t real.”

Disappointment washed over his face. He had to get the truth from his cousin. Mom and Dad couldn’t be trusted. The whole thing, even the milk and cookies set beside the fireplace, were one big lie.

Yet for our 5- and 3-year-olds—Matthew and Sarah—the myth burned on for a few more years. They knew there was a Santa. Mom mailed letters to the North Pole every year, and there were visits to the mall to see Santa himself. Sometimes Santa even brought them exactly what they wanted.

It’s been 20 years since that Christmas and I am starting to wonder if there is a Santa Claus. It is our Federal Government, and this Santa gives the gift that lasts all year.

“If you take the government to be Santa Claus,” says economist Robert Higgs, “you naturally want every day to be Christmas; and the bigger the Santa, the bigger his sack of goodies.”

That sack is certainly getting bountiful. Today the Federal Government is not only the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer and contractor; it is also Santa Claus to tens of millions of Americans.

According to the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, roughly 47 percent of Americans either pay no tax or a negative tax (Washington sends money to some people every year through such programs as the Earned Income Tax Credit).

The Federal Government has a long list and lately it hasn’t bothered checking it twice. Since October of 2008 the Federal Government has committed $700 billion and already spent $420 billion through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The Feds have also set aside another $400 billion in separate bailouts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For companies like General Motors (GM) and AIG, which have been gifted $50.4 billion and $69.8 billion respectively, there really is a Santa Claus.

If you want to check on all the goodies that Washington has given, there is a detailed list you can see here.

Best of all, Santa wants to see all of his gifts given. On Dec. 8, President Obama unveiled plans to use some of the $200 billion in lower-than-expected spending on troubled bank assets as a fiscal stimulus. Obama claimed his proposal is aimed at alleviating the “continued human tragedy” of unemployment.

Obama said he wants to create “the greatest number of jobs while generating the greatest value for our economy.” And just like Santa, Obama is leaving the price tag off.

What we do know is that the President is calling for an extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits for the more than 15 million out-of-work Americans. According to Obama, boosting jobs—through more government spending—is the best way to tackle the deficit. That kind of deductive reasoning is every bit as magical as Santa Claus.

The list seems endless. Forty billion dollars needed in Afghanistan? Done! One trillion dollars needed for Obamacare? The Democrats are working on that. Meanwhile there is even $1.1 billion for a new agency to protect consumers. And the Greens can count on a stocking-stuffer delivered fresh from Copenhagen.

Bad Santa

There is just one problem. Santa is broke. The budget deficit is a runaway sleigh. For the year ending in September it hit a stunning $1.4 trillion. If that weren’t bad enough, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts a cumulative $9 trillion deficit over the coming decade. When I started in this business in the early 1980s some were issuing dire warnings over Reagan pushing federal debt above the $1 trillion mark. This Christmas it is $12 trillion and climbing.

“No single year’s deficit is any particular danger,” says the Dec. 8 Motley Fool, “but their accumulation quickly becomes lethal. Piling up endless sums of debt works until it doesn’t, at which time a vengeful flock of chickens comes home to roost. Those needing proof can ask Dubai, or simply refer to the recent performance of the U.S. dollar.”

In fact there may be one heck of a Christmas hangover. Moody’s is looking at the debt of both the U.S. and U.K. and might downgrade it from “Triple-A” status.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Moody’s released the report as part of an effort, spurred by investor demand, to examine the creditworthiness of the world’s most highly rated countries.”

That’s very bad news for Treasury investors. And in the end it may mean the end of Santa Claus. Foreigners hold $3.5 trillion in Treasury debt. If they start unloading even a fraction of this debt the U.S. dollar will crash and the price of gold will soar.

So let me leave you with this Christmas wish; that you buy you and your loved ones some gold. Unlike Santa Claus, it will always be there for you.

Yours for real wealth, good health and, Season’s Greetings,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report

Panel OKs Bernanke Nomination For Second Term

Panel OKs Bernanke nomination for second termDespite much criticism from across party lines, the Senate Banking Committee voted on Thursday to recommend Ben Bernanke’s nomination for the second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The panel’s chairman, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), said Bernanke’s "wise leadership" means that "better days do lie ahead," but many others expressed their criticism of his handling of last year’s financial crisis.

Among the most vocal opponents of the Fed chairman has been the National Inflation Association, which has criticized the central bank for keeping interest rates low and increasing the risk of hyperinflation in the future.

The NIA has been particularly outraged now that Time magazine named Bernanke Person of the Year 2009, and responded with its own distinction, designating him Villain of the Year 2009.

"The U.S. economy is riding high on its last dose of stimulus before the entire financial system overdoses and collapses," NIA says, adding that "Bernanke has pushed the inevitable recession down the road while setting up the upcoming currency crisis."

The full Senate vote is set to take place in January. However, because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced he will block Bernanke’s nomination from reaching the floor for a vote by placing it on hold, it will require a super-majority of 60 votes for him to win the confirmation.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19521815-ADNFCR

Democrats Break Filibuster On Healthcare Reform

Democrats break filibuster on healthcare reform Early Monday morning, Senate Democrats voted 60-40 to end the debate on a package of healthcare reform revisions and advance the bill ahead of the final vote.

The vote has been touted as a show of unity and prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to declare that "today, the Senate took another historic step toward our goal of delivering access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans."

He added that the bill is "about people, it’s about life and death in America and human suffering. And given the chance to relieve this suffering, we must."

Meanwhile the GOP has criticized their opponents for passing the measure in the middle of the night and against the wishes of the majority of public opinion.

"Make no mistake: If the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn’t be forcing this vote in the dead of night," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), quoted by CNN.

Monday morning’s vote was the first of three this week, and the Senate is expected to conduct the final vote on the healthcare reform bill on Christmas Eve. The final passage of the measure will require only a simple majority vote.
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19524490-ADNFCR

Clinton Makes Major Financial Pledge At Climate Summit, Calls Out China

Clinton makes major financial pledge at climate summit, calls out ChinaOn the eve of President Barack Obama’s arrival at the global climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would help raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing nations combat climate change, provided that other affluent nations live up to the "transparency" demanded by the U.S.

The declaration was a clear attempt to re-energize the pursuit of a global agreement after nearly two weeks of contentious debate that has produced minimal results.

Clinton referred directly to China when she indicated that there are strings attached to the U.S.’s pledge.

"I have often quoted a Chinese proverb which says that when you are in a common boat, you have to cross the river peacefully together," she said. "Well, we are in a common boat. All of the major economies have an obligation to commit to meaningful mitigation actions and stand behind them in a transparent way."

It is still unclear whether China plans on participating in the proposed agreement or if they will even remain at the summit, Fox News reports.

Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) said last week that the Senate would pass its own version of climate change legislation in the spring of 2010.

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) responded, "there are maybe 25 votes in the Senate for cap and trade. You need 60. John Kerry misled the people. He said something binding would happen by April 22. That is not going to happen. Wait and see if I am right or John Kerry."
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19519653-ADNFCR

House Democrat Introduces Controversial Immigration Reform Bill

House Democrat introduces controversial immigration reform bill Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced an immigration reform proposal last week that has already garnered significant criticism from anti-immigration advocates.

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 is the first significant proposal on the issue introduced in Congress in the last two years.

It contains far-reaching provisions, including a route to legalization for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants—who would be required to pay a $500 fine, learn English and pass a criminal background check—and a suggestion to strip police officers of their federally-sanctioned powers to detain individuals for immigration and visa violations, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Moreover, the legislation draft calls for providing 100,000 extra visas for people from countries with high rates of illegal immigration and for expediting legal immigration for close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful residents.

The proposal has come under fire from conservative groups that have labeled it "an amnesty."

Among the most vocal critics is the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which described the bill as a "wholesale sell-out of the interests of the American people."

The organization’s president, Dan Stein, stated that "at a time when some 25 million Americans are either unemployed or relegated to part-time work, the last thing the Democratic majority ought to be focused on is a massive amnesty and immigration expansion bill."
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19519576-ADNFCR

Lieberman's Wife Under Fire For Lobbying Activities

Lieberman's wife under fire for lobbying activities Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) has emerged as one of the biggest obstacles for the Democrats on the road to a healthcare reform, a position that may have resulted in increased attacks on his wife Hadassah Lieberman.

Mrs. Lieberman has worked as a consultant for pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and ALCO, which critics claim creates a conflict of interest.

Now they have begun calling for a major breast cancer alliance—the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation—to drop the senator’s wife as its ‘Global Ambassador.’

"We are asking Ellen DeGeneres, Christie Brinkley and other high-profile celebrities who are associated with Komen to demand that no more money raised for cancer treatment be given to Hadassah Lieberman or any other ex-Pharma/Insurance strategists," said Jane Hamsher, founder of the Firedoglake blog.

The critics in turn have come under fire from many on the right side of the political spectrum who decried attempts to go after lawmakers’ families for political reasons.

Mrs. Lieberman herself pointed out to the controversy as a setback for feminism and women’s right in America.

"It’s been surprising to me as an old feminist to watch this kind of cheap attack," she said, quoted by The Washington Post.

She added, "The reality of many women is that many of us have careers and ideas and thoughts that preceded our marriages."
ADNFCR-1961-ID-19517149-ADNFCR

Trying Alternative Medicine Is A Waste Of Time!

It must have been 27 years ago that I had my first experience with so-called “alternative medicine.” I was 13 and had been suffering chronic daily headaches and mid-back pain for half-a-dozen years. I was already seeing Philadelphia’s best mainstream medical professionals, taking a plethora of prescription meds, being put through dozens of tests, scans, protocols…. to no avail.

My father (who is an osteopath) then took me to see a chiropractor, and do you know what happened? Within minutes my back and neck felt so much looser! My restricted movement was returned within normal ranges. And I also started taking natural supplements. Over all, it was an amazing feeling…

I went back several times that week for adjustments and, at home, attempted the exercises I was instructed to do. But the pain, and my suffering, returned and continued on. This is not surprising. In fact, it is a common occurrence when people try alternative therapies.

Why This Happens
The problem is that many people turn to alternative therapies as a last resort. They have had little success with mainstream medicine, have become desperate and now are expecting a miracle cure or at least a fast turnaround of their signs and symptoms.

While I served as director of the Integrated Energy Medicine healing center in Philadelphia, I did thousands of examinations, consultations and treatments using alternative therapies and herbal medicines. I would have been delighted to offer patients both a miracle cure and fast results… if such were possible. And many times I was successful in “curing” someone in short order. But with other cases, the sheer depth, difficulty and timeline of the problem made that task impossible.

Let me explain why some patients experience great success while others simply have little to no change in their signs and symptoms and find alternative therapies to be a waste of time.

A Different Model
In general there is a vast philosophical and procedural difference in the approaches of mainstream medicine and alternative therapies. Mainstream bio-medicine uses a disease-based model of health. That is, patients see their primary care physician when they are ill, the doctor diagnoses the illness (disease) and then prescribes a protocol of curing that disease. Often there is no cure… but pain and other signs and symptoms are “managed” by prescription medication and/or surgery.

Alternative therapies, on the other hand, work from a wellness model. That is, the focus is on returning the body to homeostasis (balance) and maintaining that balance to ensure good health and long life. They proactively accomplish this through diet, exercise, mind/body techniques, herbs and supplements, massage and so on. All are methods of alleviating pain, illness and disease by restoring balance to the body. If you have back pain and take a supplement, the pain will probably remain… for a while. But if you follow a protocol of regular supplementation with safe stretches and perhaps acupuncture or chiropractic care… the body will rebalance and the issues will resolve. But this takes time.

Generally speaking, many alternative therapies aim at rebalancing the body to restore health. Chinese medicine uses herbs to balance blood, energy, body fluids and organ function. Acupuncture uses needles to open meridian lines and correct energy imbalances. Chiropractic uses manual adjustments to realign the spine to allow correct functioning of the nervous system.

Don’t Try… Do!
So why does the title of this article claim that alternative therapies are a waste of time? Well, actually, they are not. But the “trying” of alternative therapies most certainly IS. You see, there is a difference between “trying” and “doing.” Trying means “you didn’t do” something. Let’s examine some common statements I’ve heard in my practice, and what they really mean.

Statement: I tried to call you and cancel my appointment. Translation: I did not call you.

Statement: I tried acupuncture, but it didn’t help. Translation: After a few visits I was not cured and so decided not to continue and follow the protocol to the end.

Statement: I’ve been really trying to eat right and do my exercises. Translation: I eat right once in a while, and I exercise when I remember to do it.

Trying means not doing. And if you are not fully engaged in the doing of alternative therapies… seeing them through to the end… following the protocol… doing what you have been instructed to do… then they will not “work.” Not because they failed you, but because YOU failed you.

You see, the therapies themselves are not the problem (unless you have chosen to follow the wrong therapy for your health issue). They are also not time-consuming. Rather, it is the body that takes time “to allow" the method to take hold and effect change and reestablish balance. But this takes time because the body likes to stay where it is, as it requires little effort to do so. After repeated treatments, or a period of time spent doing exercises or taking herbal supplements, the body finally realizes that it is actually easier to be in a state of homeostasis (balance) than to exist in a state of imbalance. It then “lets go” of its old unhealthy holding pattern. Now it can fully embrace a healthy pattern, and positive change can take effect.

Think of it like working out at the gym. If you are out of shape and lift weights you will be sore. But little by little you will be less sore after the exercise. If you only lift weights once in a while, your muscle size, shape and density will not visibly change.  But if you stick with it (“do” it), you will notice your body changing in positive ways.

Internally this is what is happening with alternative treatments. Each day, each treatment, each bottle of supplements, each breathing exercise and dietary change brings you one day closer to the body allowing them to take hold and the body stepping out of its own way to effect a cure.

They’re No Last Resort
The worst part is, people still look to alternative therapies as a last resort, and mainstream pharma drugs and surgery as a first choice. This is perverse. Using the big guns for the beginning of a problem (depending on severity) is ridiculous. My feeling on maintaining a balance between mainstream and alternative medicine is this: Everyone needs to get a physical each year, including blood and urine tests. If a problem is found they should seek alternative, non-toxic, non-invasive methods to balance the body. After a period of time they should have more tests run to see if the problem is better or worse. If better, continue with alternative medicine. If worse, and in the red zone of health, then turn to mainstream medicine for help. Not the other way around.

As it stands, alternative practitioners tend to get chronic cases, and after years or decades of toxic drugs and surgeries have truly damaged their patients’ body. And they are left to balance these bodies, in short time, at low costs and with high hopes.

It’s time people reframe their minds on this issue. So the next time you feel un-well, seek out alternative therapies first. But you must DO it and not simply TRY it. It takes time, effort, discipline, but in the end being balanced means being healthy.

And taking personal responsibility to do what needs doing—and not depending on a doctor to do it for you—is the greatest gift you could ever give to yourself.

—Dr. Mark Wiley